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    How much YouTube do you think you watched this year? A lot probably — over four billion hours of video are watched each month according to these alarming YouTube stats which we have no reason to doubt. About time then for a bit of fun to be made out of the format we now know probably better than our loved ones’ faces, so join Publicis Groupe in this utterly genius hack of one of the most well-known sites on the internet (big shout) by altering the volume, quality, screen size and play button to your heart’s content — you won’t be disappointed, just don’t make Maurice angry. Get going here.

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    This kind of goes without saying, but it should be noted that no animals were harmed in the making of this campaign… or eaten. It was in fact designed to raise awareness surrounding food hygiene, provoking us to think about where and what we’ve been caressing with our little mitts. Nobody is going to argue the cuteness of Cupcake the hamster, or Mr. Loaf the pesky Pug, but do we really want to lick jam off our fingers after stroking Mr. Loaf? Probably not because Mr. Loaf has most probably been rolling in something quite pungent. This campaign is fabulously creative and just as thought provoking as those hard-hitting, fear mongering doomsday ads we’re bombarded with. Great stuff Jeremy!

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    There’s nothing I like better than a good old swing session, and now there’s a perfect excuse to slap on a smile and shoot through the air in innocent ecstasy! This kind of wild excitement derived from such a simple pleasure is something often lost on adults as they grow up to experience the more ‘serious’ pleasures dirty minds may have thought I was alluding to, but Ann Hamilton’s The Event of a Thread installation, currently on display in New York poses a serious question; who says swings are just for kids?

  4. Cumquat-list

    If you’re starting your own self-published edition what on earth do you pick for its content? With such an abundance of information out there online and in print it’s tough to find your own niche. There’s one subject however, that mankind will always have an appetite for; pornography, and The Cumquat is seeking to exploit that niche as best it can with an open call for the filthiest erotic literature around. “It’s more than porn. It’s smut; the essence of filth. And the sticky juice has spilled over everything.”

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    “BOREDOM MAKES YOU DO CRAZY THINGS” proclaims AG Rojas’ website header, and yeah, that’s true for most people. Sometimes when I’m bored I do something “crazy” like tidy my room, or watch some mind-numbingly atrocious reality TV show.

  6. Schmuck-list

    Parisian photographer Benjamin Schmuck has a gift for creating images that are simultaneously jaw-dropping and quietly understated. His vast and expansive landscape shots are as breathtaking as they come, yet the soft-focus finish of his signature style imbues them with a translucent, softened quality that mutes some of their earthy power. Likewise his portraits take everyday faces and elevate them to an ethereal level, removing them from their natural environs and transplanting them somewhere heavenly. Quite how he does this is a mystery to us, but his ability to turn a suburban back-street into somewhere we’d desperately like to visit is definitely not to be sniffed at.

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    Now you know that we’re basically all about finished pieces here at It’s Nice That but we thought we’d make an exception for these stunning process shots. Valerie Leuth and Paul Roden have collaborated on an amazingly detailed woodcut print which will be released in the new year and these photos show the painstaking work that’s gone into it. This fantastical reimagining of the moon taps into the symbolism and mythology with which we associate our extraterrestrial neighbour, mixing real landmarks with illustrative licence to create something very special. The pair have worked together before (on this maritime print series for example) but at 32 by 36 inches this task their talents to a whole new level.

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    Last Friday, we were back at the Barbican for our In Progress conference, an all-day affair featuring over a dozen speakers from across the creative spectrum looking back at key themes and projects from this year and forecasting how they might shape 2013 and beyond.

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    Digital design studio FIELD have long held a reputation for pushing the boundaries of computer-generated design. With a commitment to the aesthetic qualities of their output that’s uncharacteristic of creatives with such a technical background, they can count themselves almost peerless. Having just released Energy Flow, a monolithic application that offers almost infinite video storytelling subject to the manipulations of its user, they’ve set sail into uncharted waters exploring, for the first time, the potential of generative software and complex programming on narrative storytelling

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    Let’s all hold hands and be thankful that there are still people in this world making cute-without-being-twee, hilarious illustrations reminiscent of the kind of retro glory seen in such wonderful, old-time opening credits such as the magnificently kitsch title sequence for 1976’s Freaky Friday.

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    We love to show people where we are and who we’re with, and this process requires some “cam-whoring” technical wizardry that always includes a steadfast arm reaching out from the photograph itself. Glance through photos on Facebook or glide the swarms uploaded to Instagram and there is something you are always SURE to see – the precariously taken, arm-length self-portrait captured on a hand-held camera.

  12. Opinion-list

    Editor Rob Alderson tries to explain why a new show revelling the very worst bits this city has to offer has been such a hit and why creatives should embrace the darker, dirtier sides of life. As ever feel free to add your comments in the discussion thread below!

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    You should know by now that we’re big fans of Damien Poulain and his broad approach to design and publishing. We also love the raw photography of South African Pieter Hugo. So it should come as no surprise that we’re thrilled to discover the two men are collaborating again, on a book of Pieter’s photos with a powerful sense of the undead.

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    We all know that guy who fancies himself a bit of an amateur Heston Blumenthal and so inflicts all manner of very weird and not so wonderful combinations on you in the pursuit of gastronomic originality. Luckily the Festina Lente collective are not making us eat their magnificent culinary combos, but they are using them to create a brilliant identity for the food studio Etenschap. Building on their client’s reputation for experimenting with food “as a product, as an image and as an experience” they’ve brought together unlikely edibles which point to the power of the imagination when it comes to rethinking our relationship with food. The fish-pineapple is a late contender for my image of the year!

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    It has been 25 years since the world took breath and wrapped their laughing gear round the Graphics Interchange Format – the very la-di-da name for what we all know and love as simply, the GIF. I think you’ll agree, it’s hard to imaging stumbling through blogs without bumping into a GIF that completely takes you by surprise, offering snippets of unique stupidity, hilarity, creativity and plain awesomeness. Whether it’s a dancing baby, crazed psycho cats or the cutest thing alive, the GIF has been there for us in all its wondrous glory. And now thanks to Sean Pecknold’s film and the exhibition its tied to – Moving the Still – we can all revel in how this phonomena came to be.

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    It’s awkward when you’re on the tube/at a wedding/at any event, ever, and you find someone wearing the same outfit as you. It’s an absolute classic of a cringe situation that any high street shopper can relate to. Photographer William Selden is known for his garish, right-side-of-strange photography, and has recently completed this shoot for the much-anticipated Issue 4 of neon-background ambassadors, PonyStep Magazine. “Bitch Stole My Look” may just be the best-titled, most original visual feature in a fashion magazine for a while now, partly for the concept, and partly for the rather terrifying choice of models.

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    Although we’re fans of the leftfield and unexpected, sometimes it’s about being more straightforward when it comes to communication. So when Moleskine wanted to advertise its online store ahead of Christmas they decided to show it off in this neat stop motion effort that gets across the breadth of its collection in a fun and effective way. It’s good to see that such a creatively-minded brand maintains its principles when it comes to showcasing its wares.

  18. Muyum-list

    Charged with the task of creating an inviting and playful identity for a healthy range of kids’ foods, most design studios seem to opt for grotesque bubble writing and a range of bug-eyed mascots to champion their healthy mush. Not so for Dublin-based Tatabi Studio who have created this rather tasteful modular set of shapes that form the company’s logotype. The five tessellating shapes can be manipulated into an entire alphabet, allowing their print collateral to be used as an educational game as well as just looking good. Coupled with a primary colour palette the look and feel of the brand is entirely appropriate for their target market, without being in any way patronising or plastered with nauseatingly happy rainbow-coloured cows.

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    We’re all a little too used to these cold, white winter mornings at the moment, so it seems fitting to show you this photography project by Hana Knizova. In this quiet, intimate series, Hana has examined “the psychological processes behind distorted self-perception of the body, often conditioned by a psychological disorder.” Anonymous, cold and reminiscent of frosty mornings in the city, these images conjure up the kind of hostile fragility often associated with the loneliness of self-analysis and they are, as a result, very beautiful.

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    You know sometimes in life you just need a visual injection of a man with a tree as a penis, walking a dog that may or may not be his girlfriend wearing a canine mask. Luckily French illustrator Marion Fayolle is here to answer all our sadistic, yet twee needs in these extraordinary illustrations for huge variety of French magazines and books. These detailed, magnificently coloured images often depict groups of people or families on a mysterious quest of some sort and the fact that her amazing stories are all in French makes it all the more mysterious, and makes me wish I had paid more attention in school so I could translate them and appreciate them even more.

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    Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, we all know the news will be reporting it as though death is falling from above at the glimpse of a spattering (with the nation’s attention refocused on the levels of grit!) but mainly there is total love for snow right? It is, after all, basically the daddy of fun. And Japanese artist Toshihko Shibya is making this ice cool powder-puff fluff even cooler with his Snow Pallet installation. Toshihko’s aim is to transform some of the plain looking landscapes wintry weather can create, injecting some fun and personality into places otherwise visually barren. Like most brilliant ideas, Snow Palletis a remarkably simple concept – Toshihko paints iron disks in a variety of colours, placing them at differing heights from the ground. As natural light enables the colour hues to reflect off the snows surface, a gradient of colour presents itself amid the whitewashed landscape. The results are as beautiful as they are reliant on natures forces.

  22. Baubles

    Great minds sometimes do indeed think alike and that’s seemingly what happened when two testicular cancer charities sat down to think about how they could harness the festive season to help raise awareness. We were tickled last week to receive a set of Bauballs designed by Fallon for the Orchid organisation, impressed both by the simple yet effective idea and the shapely verisimilitude of this unusual decoration. Lo and behold though we came in this week to discover that the Everyman charity had worked with Albion on a similar project, although their manifestations of scrotal tree adornments (never a phrase I thought I’d use) are character-based, with Santa, satsuma and snowman among their variations. Fun, communicative work for a great cause – it doesn’t get much better than that…

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    More Swiss design for your enjoyment today, this time in the form of collaborative duo David Mamie and Nicola Todeschini, two designers working individually and in partnership from their shared studio in Geneva. Since 2009 they’ve been collaborating on a variety of beautiful print projects, but these posters for gig production company Le KAB de L’Usine are pretty exceptional and have won a Swiss Federal Design Award for their brilliance.

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    Perma-tanned football manager Ron Atkinson used to have a saying for when one of his over-paid, over-preened superstars went whining to the press about how he should definitely be playing every week no matter what – don’t tell me, show me. I was reminded of Big Ron’s advice late last week when Daan Louter’s interactive CV did the rounds on social media. The Rotterdam-based designer wants to do an internship at The Guardian but rather than write a letter explaining why his skill set was so suited for such a role, he demonstrated it instead. There’s some fun tricks on show and extra marks for his proactive approach to standing out in a crowded marketplace. Your move Guardian…

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    It’s no mean feat condensing ten years into just two minutes, particularly if what you’re trying to capture is a decade of verve and swagger. But when no-nonsense Sailor Jerry rum wanted to reflect on its recent past, they raided their archive to piece together an adrenalin-fuelled, high intensity romp through ten years of tattoos, music and mayhem. Set to the 1979 punk anthem Where Eagles Dare by The Misfits – the first time the band have ever licensed their work for commercial use – it’s a high octane tribute to the man behind the rum, Norman ’Sailor Jerry’ Collins, a legendary, pioneering tattooist best known for inking his designs on Second World War sailors on Hawaii. His spirit (pun intended) is captured though fantastic Second World War footage of Honolulu taken from a documentary about his life and times, and runs through the more contemporary scenes as well.

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    Pete Rossi is a graphic designer, visual artist and general maker of things. After working for several renowned studios in the UK and Europe, he’s also one of the 50 winners to receive the prestigious Art Directors Club Young Gun Award Browsing through Pete’s latest graphic work for the artist George Wyllie’s first major retrospective offers insight into his talent for design. In Pursuit of the Question Mark is running until February at the Mitchell, Glasgow with an identity that is closely aligned to the artists beliefs and process. Pete has therefore used a robust, bold typeface and materials to match, creating a stunning catalogue touched off nicely with a bespoke hand stamp.

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    Swiss graphic designer Felix Pfäffli, also known as Feixen, knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to making great posters. Working digitally in brightly coloured vectors he creates incredibly striking custom graphics for a variety of cultural clients. That’s not to say that’s all he’s good at though; having trained at the Lucerne School of Graphic Design he’s got the kind of skills that many people would give their right hand for, from experimental typography to immaculate publication design. So impressive are his talents in fact, that he was appointed to a teaching position only a year after his graduation in 2010.

  28. Sigur_ros

    This weekend saw the end of Sigur Rós’ Valatari film experiment; an initiative wherein the band gave 12 film makers free rein and a little dough to create a short film for one of the tracks from their album of the same title. Some great names have donned their headphones and created brand new work, including Ramin Bahrani, Alma Har’el and John Cameron Mitchell. The final piece of the jigsaw is a beautifully shot dialogue between a father and daughter and regardless of your liking for art-house narrative, can’t help but leave you wowed by its sheer good looks. I know, I know, it’s 12 minutes long and you’re very busy in the run up to Christmas, but I urge you find time to sit down and enjoy this and the rest of the series properly.

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    Many people draw inspiration from their everyday life experiences, but what happens to the element of fantasy? In a culture driven by a relentless will to live in the moment, it can be hard to step back and find the spaces to find ourselves. Julie Blackmon has realised this, creating momentary spaces in her photography that “fuses fantasy with reality in order to observe the mythic amid the chaos.”

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    It’s been a particularly busy week this week as we raced headlong into the jaws of In Progress. And as the team wipe their collective brows flinging perspiration in the wake of the weekend, let’s all settle down and have a look at what brightened up the studio, alleviating tensions like a much-needed biscuit. So, what will we be offering your beady, yearning eyes this week? I hear you people, and let’s just say it’ll involve a roam through day jobs, a collection of trendy fashion, naked illustrated bodies, A VINYL TO DIE FOR and some killer stories accompanied by some rather dashing photography. Let’s get it on.

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    Wow! We didn’t know what to expect from Jane Stockdale’s seemingly bountiful bookshelf, but we had a feeling it would mirror her energised, powerful photographic skills that we have been gaping at in awe for years now. If you haven’t yet witnessed how Jane uses her camera to capture some of the world’s most electric moments from festivals to riots, it may be good to check out her website before you read on. You may have a new favourite photographer.

  32. Weekender-list

    So two and a half weeks to the big day people. Now you know The Weekender is your pal, it’s not here to tell you what to do, rather just maybe give you a nudge in the right direction. But you’ve got two days off after this and THERE”S LOADS TO DO. Ok, sorry, I didn’t mean to panic you. It’s fine, plenty of time just get the food sorted. And the presents. And cards (everyone you know or have ever met should cover it). You’ll need decorations. And a tree, obviously. Oh and you need to get all this done in and among the many, many parties organised on the most joyously spurious “festive” grounds; “Penultimate Tuesday before Christmas drinks anyone? Mine’s a pint…” Dance to my merry tune…

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    Fancy some art and design chat in a pod-tastic way to round off your week? Course you do and good job too because here comes Studio Audience with some illustration, art and graphic design plus a discussion about whether computer games are art, design or nothing of the sort. Oh and look out for a long-awaited return for Siddall’s Similes – it’s a cracker. Enjoy!

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    One of the greatest cultural misunderstandings of the modern age is that being weird, or surreal is easy. The problem is that when you see an artist or a comedian doing it really well it seems effortless but my goodness when you see it done badly it’s excruciating. Imagine then if rather than just your trying to communicate your own sense of the absurd there were minds to distill into the final product? That’s the set up for Spanish art collective Rubenimichi whose weird and wonderful work manages to get it spot-on.

  35. Santa-list

    Another bit of festive fun here in the form of an animated infomercial for the big man of Christmas himself. Design studio Beyond have produced this witty piece of video as their client Christmas card but be warned, everything is not quite as lighthearted as it might at first seem. Rather than simply embracing the feelgood spirit, Beyond have decided to dispel its greatest myth with cold, hard science, demonstrating the impossibility of Santa and his super sleigh. It’s a hilarious antidote to the trite sentimentality we’re used to at this time of year, just make sure there’s no kids sat behind you while you watch.

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    One of the worst things about lazy travel writing is its tendency to textually airbrush cities, removing all nuance to create unrealistic, unrecognisable portraits of places. Thankfully Shit London is the ultimate corrective to this kind of oversimplification, not just acknowledging the city’s grimier, crueller and less desirable bits but positively celebrating them.

  37. Gifs-list

    Ho ho ho. Ha ha ha! Welcome one and all to that time of year that everyone, and I really do mean EVERYONE, is producing Christmas-themed art, design and ambiguous paraphernalia for you to laugh, cry and be totally bemused by. It’s going to be a complete nightmare trying to sift through the reams of Yuletide curiosities that pass by our eyes, but over the next couple of weeks we’ll do our very best to only show you the good stuff. Like these magnificent Christmas Gifs (sweet pun!) curated by the inimitable Mr Ryan Todd and Enjoythis.

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    Artist and graphic designer Nicole Lavelle is one of those people who must CRAM every single hour of their day with some form of creation. Her portfolio of works is as extensive as they come and full to bursting with projects we wish we has done ourselves. But it’s her W-o-r-d-U-p project that we are most enthralled by. For a small sum you can commission Nicole to hand-letter a note of your choice via this super simple and fantastic website. Pick any colour, background, size and text and she’ll produce it in her glorious hand-writing and send it to you! Such a fantastic use of the internet, very impressive. Now go! Utilise this for all of your Christmas shopping at once!

  39. Geographics-list

    We’ve written about a lot of Victionary’s new publications over the last couple of months, and who can blame us; they’ve got their finger on the pulse of trends in art, design and fashion more so than the vast majority of publishing outfits out there. So forgive us if we defer to them once again, but they’ve got another book fresh off the press and unsurprisingly, it’s a corker.

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    On their Wikipedia page (never say I’m not committed to research) Everything Everything singer Jonathan Higgs is quoted as saying: “We’re not really interested in copying certain genres or anything, so I guess you’d say it’s unpredictable and sort of surprising.” That philosophy applies equally neatly to Tapin Gofton’s new campaign for the band which wowed us as soon as it dropped in our inbox this week. With the distinctive but unfussy design and superb photography by the brilliant Nadav Kander these are, even at this late stage, strong contenders for our favourite album artwork of the year.